Getting on the H.O.R.S.E

There are over a dozen variants of poker, from Texas Hold’em and Omaha to Three-card poker, but nothing truly compares to the competitive nature of H.O.R.S.E. A challenge to many a poker player, H.O.R.S.E combines five of the more common poker variants.

Each letter of the name refers to a different poker variant. H is for Hold’em (Texas), O is Omaha, R for Razz, S is for Stud and, lastly, E is for eight or better. A complete mix of these games, each round features just their specific rules and the quirks that are attached. H.O.R.S.E was first brought into the world of poker in the 2002 World Series of Poker. Nowadays most major tournaments will actually end the competition with this game. As a rule, poker is considered a game of luck, but no one can contest that H.O.R.S.E requires a serious amount of skill as well.

To play H.O.R.S.E., a new player needs to come to grips with the rules for each of the game variants. The games are played in a round starting in the order that is spelled. Hold’em deals each player two hand cards with a maximum of five communal cards with which to make the best hand. Omaha is very similar but deals four cards per player. Razz and Seven Card Stud are also similar to each other with Razz having the aim of the lowest hand from a combination of five to seven cards dealt in a hand. Stud deals the cards in the same way as Razz (no communal cards) but requires the highest hand. Eight-or-better is the most complex, requiring players to get the highest and lowest hand to win half of the pot.
To play well, simply follow the rules, play to your strengths and focus on the players and the game.